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Church, State, and Democracy in Expanding Europe$
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Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195337105

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195337105.001.0001

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(p.134) 9 Romania
Church, State, and Democracy in Expanding Europe

Lavinia Stan

Lucian Turcescu

Oxford University Press

Romania is similar to Poland in terms of church-state relations. The Orthodox Church has been a powerful player in the post-1989 political arena, obtaining privileges from the state that also benefited the country's smaller denominations. The introduction of religious education in public schools has been its most important post-communist achievement. The Orthodox Church has cast itself as a supporter for political candidates who wanted to win parliamentary and presidential elections, many of whom have had to court this powerful church before elections, and even deliver some of their promises after being elected. Opposition against the legalization of homosexuality has been an important card religious groups have played in a country where the issue of abortion is such a sensitive one that many do not dare to confront it directly. The Orthodox Church did not obtain recognition as the “national church,” but it made sure that, in a country declaring the state's neutrality toward the church, religious denominations were to be recognized as “public utilities” funded by taxpayers' money.

Keywords:   Romania, Orthodox Church, religious education, homosexuality, abortion, religious denominations

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